Madu parents guide

Madu Parent Guide

What this inspiring documentary gains in immediacy, it loses in coherent structure. The story is heartwarming but not always easy to follow.

Overall A-

Disney+: This documentary follows Anthony Madu as the talented ballet dancer accepts a chance to study in the UK, requiring him to leave his home and family in Nigeria.

Release date March 29, 2024

Violence A
Sexual Content A
Profanity A
Substance Use A

Why is Madu rated TV-PG? The MPAA rated Madu TV-PG

Run Time: 100 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Anthony Madu, went viral on Instagram for ballet dancing barefoot in the streets of Lagos. Soon afterwards, the young Nigerian boy received a life changing invitation to study at Elmhurst, a prestigious ballet academy in the UK. This documentary follows his journey from Nigeria to the UK and through his first year at Elmhurst, covering Anthony’s challenges with adapting to a new country, being diagnosed with a disability, and missing his family back home, all while keeping up with the rigorous work of ballet.

Madu is a fly-on-the-wall documentary, meaning it lacks a framing device or structural components. There are no formal interviews or talking heads, and the infrequent voiceovers discuss feelings; not events or information. Scenes are only loosely connected and demonstrate a “slice of life” rather than a tightly structured story. The film jumps right into Anthony’s preparations to leave for the UK, and only briefly mentions the Instagram video that led to the opportunity. As such, the audience is given no context or background for what is happening. I understand the power and immediacy of this type of documentary, but I have a difficult time maintaining my focus.

While the story is loose and unfolds with no explanation, the emotions of Anthony and his family are on full display. Back in Nigeria, Anthony endured being bullied for being involved in a “feminine” pursuit; in a new country, he misses his new family and must adapt to a new country and culture. He also discovers that he has a vision-related disability, which could affect his career long term and he must absorb the implications without the support of his family. The doc also shows Anthony’s family missing him and then feeling disconnected when he returns for Easter break, speaking in a British accent and asking for therapy, a concept with which they are completely unfamiliar.

The cinematography and music are beautifully done, perfectly capturing Anthony’s grace and determination in the face of all his challenges. Audiences will be inspired by Anthony’s hard work, dedication, and emotional journey. What the film lacks in context and structure it makes up for in heart and artistry. I don’t think this is a movie for everyone, but it is well made and inspiring for those who enjoy heartfelt documentaries. Madu also has no negative content of note, making it suitable for almost anyone, though I imagine it won’t hold the attention of young children, as evidenced by my seven-year-old coming in and out of the room throughout the runtime. The film might lack the grace of ballet, but it certainly has heart.

Directed by Matthew Ogens, Joel Kachi Benson. Starring Anthony Madu. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release March 29, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for Madu

Rating & Content Info

Why is Madu rated TV-PG? Madu is rated TV-PG by the MPAA

Violence: None.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: None.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.

Page last updated

Madu Parents' Guide

What challenges does Anthony face? How do they affect him emotionally? How does he demonstrate resilience?

For more about Anthony Madu you can check the links below:

YouTube: BBC News Africa: The incredible journey of Nigeria’s viral ballet boy

Barron’s: Young Nigerian lives Dream of Being a Ballet Dancer


Home Video

Related home video titles:

Another story about a gifted child from Africa is The Queen of Katwe. Phiona Mutesi lives in poverty in a Ugandan slum until her talent for chess leads to unexpected opportunities.

Skater Girl is a fictional tale about kids in the Indian region of Rajasthan whose lives are changed by the donation of several skateboards.